Most foreclosed property is listed by an REO agent. However, there is often another individual who also represents the bank or entity who owns the property. Usually that person is an asset manager. For large banks, this position can be internal. It can also be outsourced. In the case of FHA foreclosures (also called HUD properties), the government contracted several large asset management companies. The asset manager is usually managing a large portfolio of property for their client to which their goal is to liquidate the property in the most profitable and efficient way possible. Each bank and asset manager has a unique process (and contracts) to sell these properties, though there are some unifying characteristics of all.
Be aware that most of these asset managers have hundreds of properties in their portfolios, and thus have developed rigid, if not automated systems to handle all the bids and offers on the properties. There is no emotional calculation or appeal involved on the bank’s side of the selling process; only what will likely bring in the most money.
The former owners may sometimes feel justified in pulling out fixtures, appliances, etc. just before leaving the house. Vacant lots also attract thieves and vandalism, so don’t be surprised if you see damaged drywall or missing AC units. This does have a silver lining; most people cannot see past the damage which scares down the price of the property, often lower than what the repairs would cost. This is how many investors make money on foreclosures, by capturing the difference in equity between the after-repair-value of a property and the total acquisition a cost (purchase price + repairs).
Most states require a number of disclosure notices from a seller. However, banks follow a different set of rules and usually give you little to no disclosures about the condition of the property. A thorough and careful inspection is always advised, especially if the structural integrity of the property is in question.